Just another picture of the amazing layering that takes place before your average Vietnamese girl can risk going onto her scooter.
This one also depicts the "sunny day traffic light strategy" - wait for the lights to change in the nearest patch of shade which might be some distance away and will be popular. On dull days or at nights it's full steam ahead to get as close to the lights as possible
The new mega-flash mall has opened complete with an Armani Caffe and a Jimmy Choo. It's all very impressive down Dong Khoi these days.
Stepping inside is like being transported to Singapore but there are significantly low numbers of shopping bags being carried around. On my last two visits the most popular activity was from groups posing for photographs outside shops. There's shopping going on, I'm sure, but not on a Singaporean scale. On the other hand, La Senza had completely sold out of medium sized knickers so some are doing well.
Not such great mall news from Phu My Hung where the wedding cake styled Paragon mall closed with little or no warning. It's always been a bit of a ghost mall in there. Completely unsubstantiated rumour which is likely to be entirely wrong, has it that Parkson will be moving in. I'll keep you posted.
Holland Village came to Saigon, an exhibition of all things Dutch. They set up in the park near the Ben Thanh roundabout. I took a wander through during the day when the finishing touches were being made.
Bitexco Tower with Windmill in front, an odd juxtaposition.
The finishing touches being put to the lighting rig, as always not a hard hat or harness in sight.
We made a quick visit to Phnom Penh at the end of the summer break simply because we had a few days spare and hadn't been there for over two years. The broad walkways along riverside are now fully completed and make for a pleasant strolling area despite the current threat of brick attacks which started to be reported during our time there.
Having seen most of the usual attractions, rifle range excluded, it was an excuse to do a little browsing, a little cafe time, eat some pretty good food, hit the second hand bookshops and settle in for the remainder of the break with a cool drink.
A change from the non la, the flag t-shirts and the erroneous ao dai but still the fun continues. Spotted in Myanmar we have:
The matching pair - extra points for this - longyi and "ethnic" shirt combo's coupled with matching beards. I give myself additional extra marks for them having the poor taste/confidence to actually wear these to the airport. Spotted in international departures in Yangon.
Wandering the temples of Bagan I came across this example; longyi, "ethnic" shirt and thanaka, I like to think he was haggling over the cost of a lovely hat to set off his outfit perfectly. He was in the company of another two similarly attired backpackers but they were cunning and I could never get them all together in the one frame.
There are no motorbikes in Yangon, they are banned. Coming straight from HCMC that took a bit of getting used to. Lots to see and find out. The danger of asking direct questions had been impressed on me but it didn't take much powers of detection to read between the carefully chosen lines of taxi drivers and temple guides.
Shwedagon Pagoda dominates the city, it's breathtaking
Elsewhere the reclining Buddha is stunning
The harbour is worth a look
The taxis are great feats of keeping things together, this is my favourite makeshift seat of the entire trip, our regular taxi had nice matching lino on the floor in a tastefull wood grain but that was no competition for the deck chair guy.
A great starting off point, well about the ONLY starting off point for a trip to Myanmar. We flew via Bangkok because the Vietnam Airlines flights only go via Hanoi at the moment making a longer and more expensive option. Visas on arrival worked well, there was a wait of about 45 minutes and minimum commotion.
Feeling a bit out templed after the visits to Yangon and Bagan we spent a day just lazing on the deck of our hotel room and taking advantage of the spa treatments and books before taking in the attractions that Inle has to offer. In truth some of the nicest things are sitting quietly and listening to the silence or glow worm spotting but they don't make good pictures so here are some other attractions.
The deck where the lazing took place .
The pace of life is slow and hanging about seems to be a bit of a local passtime, not that I'm complaining.
Of course floating and rowing is a big part of life too.
The biggest draw is the Leaping Cat Monastery where, it is alleged, lots of cats leap through hoops. Maybe they do in the high season but we saw one half hearted leap.
Sleeping Cat Monastery seems a more appropriate name
However, it's a beautiful building and the views from the walkways are lovely
And if you really need your cat fix you can visit a stilted cat centre where they are reintroducing the Burmese cat. They're friendly and will happily climb on you and purr like small outboard motors. Meals and coffees are served here too.
If cats aren't your thing what about a pig?
Pigs - usually found around the edges of markets for a purpose unknown and unexplored. I particularly liked the ubiquitous Myanmar Shopping Bag.
and the dragonflies
and the buildings
and the twilights
Safe to say, I liked it all, if you haven't had enough of other people's holiday snaps feel free to click on through to flickr where there are more, oh so many more.